Veteran’s Day-Opp to Honor Our Heroes

241 Remember sign

241 Remember sign

It’s been a busy couple of weeks for us and many other military families around the nation. Veteran’s Day is perhaps the biggest day of the year for all vets. It gives the public the opportunity to honor them in so many ways.

Vet Day bus

John & I participated in Fort Wayne’s Veteran’s Day Parade. He rode the Air National Guard bus while I walked with the Blue Star Mothers. I had more fun handing out candy to children along the mile-long route, but guess who was more tired at the end of the parade?

Thanks to everyone in the Fort Wayne area – Boy Scouts, school bands, military groups and supporters – for going to the effort of showing our vets how much we appreciate them!

Lineberry class

Speaking opportunities for me to tell people about my World War II book of veteran stories abounded. These are pictures of some places I’ve been.

Belmont Lineberry K

Brian Lineberry allowed me to speak to his class at Bellmont High School in Decatur. The class is studying World War II and preparing to write profiles of fallen World War II soldiers from the area. Cool! I gave them tips on research and what they might discover.

Lani 2015

Lani Mahnensmith asked me to speak to a grief support group that meets at Kingston Retirement Center in Fort Wayne. Met some vets there I’ve interviewed and ate lunch with them. Double cool!

K display

The Allen County Public Library Author Fair was well attended. Several people stopped by to ask about the book and we chatted about World War II vets in the area.

Laurie Gray auth fair

It was fun seeing author friends Laurie Gray (above) and Doris Rapp (below).

Doris Rapp

We all were asked to speak on panels about writing.

Amn 241 fallen heroes display

one last thing to mention—the American Legion 241 Post in Fort Wayne hosted an exhibit that I’m sure moved everyone who viewed it.

It displays names, photos and mementos from family / friends of fallen soldiers from Indiana. The display was organized by a father who feared the public would forget his soldier son after his death. It is respectful and maddening to think of our loss because of their sacrifices on our nation’s behalf.


The display is especially meaningful for me as there is a photo of a man who grew up in my church. See lower left.

Master Sergeant Michael Hiester, 33, was killed in Afghanistan in 2005 by a mine explosion. He left behind a wife, son, daughter, parents and two sisters, a church who loved him and many, many friends. I love them and respect them so much for carrying on. I don’t know how family get through those painful experiences. The least we can do for our fallen heroes is to show respect for every veteran we meet.

Learn more about this unique exhibit here.

If you have a chance today, thank a veteran for his/her service!



Veteran’s Day–Opportunity to Recognize Military Service People

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This week we have the official opportunity to recognize military service people! Veteran’s Day will be celebrated on Wed, November 11. Remember to thank a veteran!

My wonderful husband John retired after 21 years of serving in the  Air Force and Air National Guard. We're proud of him!

My wonderful husband John retired after 21 years of serving in the Air Force and Air National Guard. We’re proud of him!

On a personal note, my husband will celebrate his birthday on November 10. He is retired with 21 years of service in the Air Force, Grissom Air Reserve Base  in Peru, Indiana in Peru, Indiana and finally at the 122nd Fighter Wing at Fort Wayne Indiana

We are proud of him and the effort and commitment he has always had to our nation’s security. Happy birthday, John!


Marine poster

November 10 is also the birthday of the US Marine Corps. You can read a nice blog post about the Marines at GP Cox’s Pacific Paratrooper blog. I subscribe to this informative and well put-together blog which frequently sends out information about our nation’s vets and their experiences.

Carl Mankey earned two Purple Hearts while fighting in World War II.

Carl Mankey earned two Purple Hearts while fighting in World War II.

In honor of the Marines I’ve included an excerpt of the story from the sole Marine in my book—Carl Mankey.

“On June 22, 1944, Marine Private First Class Carl Mankey led 20 men from his squadron up a mountain in Saipan in the Mariana Islands. Mankey’s goal was to destroy a Japanese machine gun nest that had fired for hours on Allied troops.

Disregarding heavy fire from the enemy, Mankey moved into the open to shoot at the nest with his rifle, tthrowing grenades and hoping to disrupt the firing. Failing to hit the target, Mankey refused to give up. He returned to the machine gun nest, repeating his brave actions. This time he completely destroyed it.”

The story goes on to relate this Marine’s being awarded two Purple Hearts for valor in service in World War II.

This story is one of 28 in my book which is available for $20 at this site and Amazon. It would make a great Christmas gift for military/history lover.

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This season I’m speaking at several locales about my World War II book and project of interviewing more than 100 (now 103 to be precise) vets from that era.

Last week the Fort Wayne History Center hosted a lecture featuring my book. A crowd of 60 people listened attentively and later expressed support of the subject.

Roger Myers served as a bombardier during WWII.

Roger Myers served as a bombardier during WWII.

Pelfrey Wyall K

I was thrilled to see two of the vets from my book in the audience—Roger Myers (Army Air Corps) and Marty Wyall (WASP).

Thanks to the staff of the Fort Wayne History Center and Director Todd Pelfrey for allowing me to have this unique opportunity!

John and I also participated in the Fort Wayne (IN) Veteran’s Day parade. He rode in the 122nd’s nice bus. I walked with the Blue Star Mothers—women whose children are or have been in the military.


Finally, these vets are among those I’ve interviewed who have November birthdays. Some have passed on– Richard Willey, Wallace Avey, Richard Block. We remember them all for their courage and selflessness.

Wallace Avey-Army

Wallace Avey-Army

Richard Block-Navy

Richard Block-Navy

Robert Kiester - Army Air Corps

Robert Kiester – Army Air Corps

Wayne Sauers- Army

Wayne Sauers- Army

Albert Silk-Army

Albert Silk-Army

Richard Willey-Army

Richard Willey-Army

If you know a veteran, please make an effort to honor them on Veteran’s Day, Christmas, their birthdays, any day.

Opportunity to Meet/Honor WWII Vets!

100 WWII vets 2015
Paul Sell (1926-2014)

Paul Sell (1926-2014)

A big FREE event is coming up one week from today for all of you military supporters/ history lovers around Fort Wayne!


On November 1, starting at 2pm at the Fort Wayne History CenterI will talk about my project of interviewing World War II vets as part of the George Mather lecture series.

 aaBurns Virgil uni

A year ago, I wrote a book with 28 stories from WW II vets in Adams, Allen, Huntington, Whitley and Wells counties. The book’s title is World War II Legacies: Stories of Northeast Indiana Veterans.


World War II: Legacies of Northeast Indiana Veterans

World War II: Legacies of Northeast Indiana Veterans

There will be a book signing that day. The book sells for $20 on Amazon and through this website. If you purchase a copy and like the stories, would you please post a review at Amazon? Thanks!


I’m excited to talk about the writing of my book and my ongoing goal to interview as many World War II vets as possible. I believe they could all be deceased within the next five years. Keep in mind their minimum age is now 88 years old!

 aaSchultz Cal old

Their stories are too valuable to lose!  

Recently I interviewed my 100th World War II vet! The photos on this blog are among those WWII I’ve interviewed who were born in October.

 100 WWII vets 2015

This poster I made contains all of their precious faces. I’ll have the poster at the lecture for you to examine.

Dr. Justin Arata--Navy

Dr. Justin Arata–Navy

I’ve asked several World War II vets to attend the lecture. We’ll recognize the vets by branch and then allow time for the public to greet them.  

It will be a chance for people to meet/greet World War II vets they may not have known were in their community. It’s also a great way for them to see people they may have known in the past and served with. Wouldn’t that be a cool occurrence?


I hope this event is something those of you who live in the northeast Indiana area will put on your calendars and choose to attend with family and friends. Better yet, bring another veteran of any era with you so he/she can participate in the special event!


And bring kids with you so they have the experience to meet a World War II veteran. You never know what impact this meeting may have on their lives!


The Fort Wayne History Center is located at 302 East Berry Street in Fort Wayne. They have a convenient parking lot (free) next to the door. There is an elevator to the floor with the lecture, which is also free.

Also the News-Sentinel newspaper in Fort Wayne has been publishing new World War II stories I’ve written of vets in our area every other Monday since February. The next story is due out tomorrow. Please read it and if you like it, please let the editors know. I’m hoping they’ll allow the column to continue as long as we have vets around to tell their stories!

 Always remember to thank a veteran for his/her service!



WWII Vet’s Div Supported 82nd Airborne on D-Day

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This is the first of what I hope will be a blog/ email newsletter. Some authors have both a newsletter and blog. Due to time constraints, I will add more information to my blog posts to create a type of newsletter that will be sent to email subscribers. By combining them I hope to allow more room for interviewing vets!

This format may evolve over time. Please let me know suggestions for improving this blog devoted primarily to World War II. Thanks for your interest in our nation’s oldest vets and their stories.

World War II Legacies: Stories of Northeast Indiana Veterans Profile

To give those of you an idea of my WWII book’s contents I’ll include a portion of one veteran’s story in each post. The first is taken from Robert ‘Red’ Batchelder:

‘…He was a member of the 457th Medical Collecting Company. “We collected injured and dead bodies on the battlefield,” said Batchelder.

Batchelder’s division supported the 82nd airborne division. The 82nd’s most ambitious operation of the war to that point was the airborne assault phase of Operation Overlord, or D-Day.

On June 5 and 6 and days following, paratroopers, parachute artillery elements, and other troops boarded hundreds of transport planes and gliders (engineless aircraft towed into the air to their target by military transport planes) for the assault on the shores of Normandy France.

Bob Batchelder served with 457th Medical Collecting Company at D Day.

Bob Batchelder served with 457th Medical Collecting Company at D Day.

German troops hid in casemates and hedgerows eight feet thick. Casemates were fortified gun structures from which guns were fired. Hedgerows were maze-like structures that housed machine guns and other firepower. For five days, Batchelder and other medical personnel treated casualties in a 12’x 20’ tent for a temporary field hospital. “We used morphine as penicillin was not yet readily available,” he said…

This interview was done at Bob’s home in 2013 in Ft Wayne at the recommendation of a friend who heard me speak at a Rotary Club meeting. Sadly, Bob died Jan 10, 2015.

28 stories of WWII like this one are included in my book which is available for purchase at this site. See top of this page for ordering details!


Goetz old good (2)


Wed, October 14: Ed Goetz of Ossian, an Army Air Corps veteran featured in my book is scheduled to speak at the Wells County Historical Society at 7pm. If you’ve not heard Ed speak, you won’t want to miss this. Among his dozens of bombing missions to Japan, he had to bail out of a burning plane with the rest of his crew at 3am over the ocean. For hours he floated in the ocean, not knowing if anyone else survived. It is a tremendous story of courage and trust in God as Ed prayed for safety.


Fri/Sat, October 16-17: Rustic Barn sale- 1524 E 700 N Oss– home of Teri Klefeker 9a-5p, Sat 9-3p. This is the home of a woman with two large barns who is opening it to dozens of crafters/ vendors for selling their wares. It’s my first time to sell my World War II book there, but it sounds like fun! The weather looks great so please come out!


Tue, October 27: Local Author Night, 6-8 p.m. at the Wells County Public Library, 200 W. Washington St in Bluffton, IN. All authors in Indiana and western Ohio are invited to set up booths, sell books, and mingle with attendees in a relaxed environment. The event is free to attend and the first of its kind. Another great opportunity for book-buying and gifts for the holidays!

Several exciting events are happening in the early part of November due to Veteran’s Day so I’ll be sending out another post within a week with those events to put on your calendar.


Carl Capatina 100 faces I recently interviewed my 100th World War II veteran! That accomplishment was celebrated by my putting all 100 faces on a poster. John (my husband) and I rented a booth at the Bluffton Street Fair the third week of Sept in the Industrial Tent. We displayed the poster. Many people stopped by to look for faces they knew and to share stories of family members who served in World War II or other wars. We sold several copies of my book which were for sale.

It was a joy to put the poster together and remember the unique details of each veteran’s story. No matter how many vets I interview, they always share different stories. It’s amazing!


Berne Rotary 09-15 good

Berne Rotary

Optimist group spkFt Wayne Optimists Club

I recently spoke to members of the Berne Rotary Club and Fort Wayne Optimists Club (meets at Waynewood Inn) about my project of interviewing World War II vets. Both were very friendly and supportive groups. I’m available to speak to groups like this. Please bear in mind I charge 50 cents/ mile for speaking at locales 25+ miles one-way.

Part of every talk I give is to encourage all of you to do what I’m doing. We’re in this together. I can’t talk with every veteran about his/her story. There is not enough time. If everyone recorded one veteran’s story, we could capture these stories while we still have the opportunity! It doesn’t have to be perfect, but it needs to be done ASAP! I posted a list of possible questions on my blog just a few weeks ago. Use that as a guide.


Bates Carol Tim Dave John me 10-15

On a personal note, some of my husband’s sibs met last week to ask their uncle, Homer Bates, about his military service as a left gunner in B29s. He could remember every detail and after 3 hours seemed ready to go all night! I’m so glad we’ve gotten to know him better as a result of his being featured in my book!



Now a bit of fun to end the post. I recently found a Depression-Era cookbook at a thrift shop. I thought it would be interesting to see what some recipes were like back then and compare them to what we eat today. It would be fun to hear what memories these foods bring back during the Depression or World War II so feel free to share!


2 c. flour

1 t. salt

1 ½ c. chicken broth, boiling

½ c. flour

1-2 qts chicken broth

Mix first four ingredients together well to make soft dough. Put ½ c. flour on a bread board; put dough on top. Let cool enough to handle. Then roll like pie crust. Cut in 1”x2” strips. Let these dry 15 minutes. Drop into boiling chicken broth and simmer 15-20 minutes.

Bluffton Street Fair, Speaking Engagements Inform about WWII Vets

Seaman Richard Block served at Okinawa.
Seaman Richard Block served at Okinawa.

Seaman Richard Block served at Okinawa.

Whew! It’s been quite a week of promoting World War II veterans! Last week my husband John & I met hundreds (thousands?) of people as we manned our booth at the Bluffton Street Fair. It was great fun with lots of opportunities to tell people about the 100 World War II vets I’ve interviewed and my book, World War II Legacies: Stories of Northeast Indiana Veterans. Often we had the privilege of talking to vets of other wars—mostly Vietnam.


The poster I made just prior to the fair was especially popular. Having just completed my 100th World War II interview, I cut out photos of each veteran and placed them alphabetically on the poster. Many people from the community recognized men and women they had known but perhaps never knew were vets.

After five days at the fair, we are dog tired, but thankful that the weather was ideal with temps in the upper 70s all week. That caused attendance at the fair to be estimated as above average. Book sales during the week were helped by my keeping with a Street Fair tradition. Many businesses offer discounts for fairgoers. I chose to offer World War II Legacies: Stories of Northeast Indiana Veterans at a sale price– $20 reduced to $15.

Carl Capatina K poster

Quite a bargain for the 28 detailed stories contained within! Several friends stopped by for a copy and I snapped their photos before they could get away! Strangers picked up hundreds of me business cards and dozens of people signed up to win a free book. My next blog post will announce the winner! People asked if I was planning another book. That’s a question I’ll address after Christmas. Stay tuned!



This time of year is especially busy for me for another reason—Veteran’s Day (Nov 11). A number of groups have asked me to speak on the subject of my project of interviewing as many World War II vets as I can.

My talk with the Zanesville Lions Club a few weeks ago was a great experience. They are a most gracious group of people. Daughter Mandy attended with me. We were impressed with their friendliness and interest in the subject of WWII.


I was particularly impressed with the students who attended as ‘Leo’ Lions (beginners). They listened respectfully and asked pertinent questions. One high schooler floored me when he told me afterward that he liked what I was doing in interviewing World War II vets. His grandfather had been a World War II veteran. “I think Grandpa would have liked being in your book if he was still alive,” he said.  I was so touched to think this young man honored his beloved relative and the military and me simultaneously without realizing it.

K J booth

The meeting was especially valuable because one of the vets from my book—Homer Bates – attended as a special guest. His good friend, Sue Harris (I’m glad to call her my good friend too), brought him and I read his story to the group. Those who purchased a copy of the book were thrilled when Homer agreed to sign their copies. That’s a benefit of this book—bringing generations together.


The Fort Wayne News-Sentinel newspaper published another one of my World War II stories today as they have done every other Monday since February. These are new stories not found in my book

Today’s story was especially poignant. Richard Block was a Navy seaman who fought as part of the communication group aboard ship during the bloody Battle of Okinawa. Later he was an esteemed educator in the Fort Wayne area.

Sadly, Mr. Block died on September 19, 2015, just days before his story was published. His photo in uniform is pasted at the top.

Block Richard 08-15 (3)

That is part of the risk we take in working with men and women whose ages are older than 88 years old. Still, it is a sad occurrence and I’m always glad that we were able to get their story before they passed.

I can’t interview every World War II veteran still living. I challenge everyone reading this to find a World War II veteran and ask to hear stories he or she may be willing to share. If the veteran is not willing to talk, thank him/her for the military service they provided and move on to another veteran.

If we work together, we can gather these stories before they are lost to us completely.

Happy Birthday Air Force!

Myers Roger old

The official birthday for the US Air Force is 18 September 1947 as enacted under the National Security Act of 1947.

I can’t let this occasion slip by without saying thank you to all of the fly-boys who have contributed to this newest branch of the American military.

My wonderful husband John retired after 21 years of serving in the Air Force and Air National Guard. We're proud of him!

My wonderful husband John retired after 21 years of serving in the Air Force and Air National Guard. We’re proud of him!

My husband and son have both been airmen of which I’m very proud.

Here are photos of some World War II vets whom I’ve interviewed who have also served.

Thank a veteran today!

Homer Bates

Homer Bates

Homer Bates (Legacies)

Goetz old good (2)

Ed Goetz (Legacies)

Digital StillCamera

Max Kaufman and his wife (both deceased)

Max Kaufman

Kiester uni

Robert Kiester

Myers Roger old

Roger Myers (Legacies)

WASP Margaret Ringenberg

WASP Margaret Ringenberg

Margaret Ringenberg (Legacies)



Paul Sell — deceased

Don Shady fought in Army Air Corps in WWII.

Don Shady fought in Army Air Corps in WWII.

Don Shady (Legacies)

Marty Wyall served as a WASP during WWII

Marty Wyall served as a WASP during WWII

Marty Wyall (Legacies)

Spreading the Word about WWII Vets


In TV studio of WANE Channel 15

Last week was a busy, fruitful week for spreading the word about honoring our nation’s World War II vets!

Not one, not two, but three speaking engagements! One was even on TV! That’s a trifecta for this small town girl who enrolled in Toastmasters to learn how to speak to a group!

On Sunday August 30 at 8:30am WANE Channel 15 in Fort Wayne interviewed me for a segment about my book and my quest to interview as many World War II vets as possible. The link is WANE 15 WWII author

Those three minutes go fast! The hosts were friendly and professional. It was a pleasure working with them to tell my story.

Roth K Seniors 9-3-15 good

On Thursday, September 3, Peggy Roth invited me to speak to a group called LIFT (Living Information For Today). It is sponsored by Dignity Memorial for those who have lost spouses.  We met at Don Hall’s Factory in Fort Wayne. The first hour was a social time to meet other people and have fun in a comfortable setting. Then the group, which meets monthly, has a speaker.

Several in the group of 44, including a female, were veterans so we recognized them for their service. Then I told them about my book, World War II Legacies: Stories of Northeast Indiana Veterans, and my goal to interview as many World War II vets as possible to help preserve our national heritage. Several people purchased copies of my book. I wish I had more time to get to know these kind, friendly people!

Edwards K Sara Wagner

That evening, after a break of a couple of hours, John and I arrived at Dupont branch of Allen County Public Library for yet another event. Branch manager Rebecca Wolfe (right) and I began the first of what we hope will be many monthly World War II veteran talks at the Allen County Public Library Dupont library branch.

The meeting began at 6pm. Al Edwards, a Navy veteran whom I had interviewed for the News-Sentinel WWII stories. This column has run every other Monday since February. Al served as our guest of honor. We had an audience of all ages, including one little guy who was around age 10!

Edwards boy 9-15

The crowd was so interested in listening and asking questions that we went past the 7pm time frame, but no worries as the library stays open on Thursday until 9pm.

Edwards Al grson Wagner

A special bonus for Al is that his grandson showed up to honor his grandfather’s special night. Another young lady was there—Sara Wagner. She served as Al’s guardian on his Honor Flight of Northeast Indiana.  You can see from Al’s expression that he was delighted to see both.

It was a great night and one we plan to do again on the first Thursday of October which happens to be October 1.

We plan to hold these meetings on the first Thursday of the month, weather permitting. Call the library to confirm the date and time.

Here’s a clue for the next month’s meeting: The World War II veteran who has agreed to be our guest was in the Army. He not only helped liberate a concentration camp, but has sobering photos of what he saw there. It’s sure to be an informative evening. He may bring another veteran so we’ll have double the military impact! Please keep in mind that circumstances may influence our choice of speakers.

The Dupont library is located at 536 E. Dupont Rd. 260.421.1315. This is sure to be an educational and poignant series as we learn from our nation’s oldest vets what it was like to serve 70+ years ago!

As always, take the time to thank a veteran for his/her service!